An effort to recall three of the seven members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education in North Carolina began on February 28. Board Chairwoman Margaret Samuels and members James Barrett and Pat Heinrich were targeted for recall after the board voted 4-3 to turn Glenwood Elementary School into a Mandarin dual-language magnet school. All three board members are also up for re-election in November 2019.
As of the 2018-2019 school year, the school has both a Mandarin dual-language track and a traditional track. The board’s vote set up the process for the school to only offer the dual-language track. The board first looked into the issue of changing the school’s tracks in response to concerns of overcrowding at the school.
Recall supporters said that Heinrich and Barrett violated the board’s policies when they spoke with parents who supported the school’s transition to a dual-language magnet school. They also claimed both members disclosed non-public information and that Samuels did not enforce the board’s policies.
Barrett claimed the recall supporters did not contact him about their concerns prior to the vote on Glenwood Elementary, and that he did not disclose non-public information. Samuels said the issues brought up by the recall supporters happened before she was elected board chair and that she did not have enforcement authority.
To put the recall on the ballot, recall supporters have 30 days to submit petitions containing signatures of 10 percent of the registered voters in each member’s district as of the 2017 election. That amounts to over 7,000 signatures per board member, according to the Orange County Board of Elections. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City school district is one of two school districts in the state that allows school board recalls.
Ballotpedia has tracked three school board recall efforts in 2019. They targeted eight board members. Two board members were removed from office in a recall election in February. The other recall efforts are still ongoing.